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La Vuelta: Moncoutie outclimbs Sanchez and Intxausti

36-year-old David Moncoutié put in a gutsy performance on today’s ascent of the Cabeza de Manzaneda to seal his first stage victory of this year’s race.

DAVID MONCOUTIE HAS made a habit of collecting a mountain stage in each of the last three Vueltas. Today, he made it four years running with an impressive performance during the peloton’s 167km journey from the Galician city of Verín to the ski station of Manzaneda.

The Frenchman, one of a sizeable breakaway that developed around the 30km mark, put in a solid, if unspectacular, effort in the build-up to the day’s final climb. Then, as the breakaway began to thin out under the pressure of the ascent, Moncoutié went on the attack. Despite cycling alone for the final twelve kilometres, the Cofidis principal succeeded in crossing the line over a minute ahead of his nearest challengers, fellow specialists Beñat Inxausti and Luis León Sánchez.

A subdued performance from Garmin’s Dan Martin, who impressed on the race’s last mountaintop finish, saw the Irishman reach the summit in 22nd place. AG2R’s Nicolas Roche, who again struggled to match his cousins climbing ability, finished 23 seconds back in 26th. The pair now find themselves in 23rd and 18th position in the General Classification, respectively.

As anticipated, Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins will don the red jersey for tomorrow’s twelfth stage. The Briton used the mountains to establish a seven-second lead over his teammate and compatriot Chris Froome. Liquigas’s Vincenzo Nibali, the favourite for the title, is in third, a further four seconds adrift.

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